Party Cove Tips & Checklist

Be Prepared for your trip to Party Cove!

Do you have a trip planned to the Lake of the Ozarks Party Cove? We have put together a checklist to help you prepare before you go to the Party Cove, so you do not look like a newbie. We have also added in some important tips to make sure your time spent at the party cove is the best possible time for you.

Party Cove Gone Wild

I hope you love going to the Party Cove at the Lake of the Ozarks! We do! being prepared, and also being safe are the two best things you can do before you head off to the Party Cove. Here are some key items to take to Party Cove, and some tips for the captain of the boat.

Items to take to Party Cove

  • ID (just in case your get stopped by Boat Patrol)
  • Life Jackets (one for every person)
  • Swimming Trucks/Swim Suit
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Sun Tan Lotion
  • Booze/Beer (try to stay away from glass bottles)
  • Boat
  • Beads (some people do crazy things for beads)
  • Raft/Floaties/Jet Ski (something to float in and help move around in water)
  • Food (snacks)
  • ICE ICE ICE (you can never have enough ice)
  • Cooler (s)
  • Garbage Bags (please do not litter into the water)
  • First Aid Kit

Some tips for boat captains:

  1. Life Jackets - Make sure you have enough Coast Guard approved PFD's (life jackets) aboard for all passengers. Check to be sure all other safety equipment such as fire extinguishers are functional. "Courtesy safety inspections" are a common occurrence.
  2. Well Maintained Boat - Ensure that your boat is in good working order! Navigating the party cove can be tricky, and your boat needs to be working properly to do so safely. If your boat has trouble going in out of gear, or dies when shifting, or otherwise has a problem that makes maneuvering difficult, you should know that stops can be abrupt, with space between boats and swimmers practically negligible. Captain's need to rely on their crew for line handling and spotting swimmers and other boats. Boats and people get crowded up very quickly, and it sometimes takes an able crew to keep things from getting damaged, or people from getting hurt. Be aware though, as captain, you should be prepared to handle things by yourself, especially at the end of the day when the best your crew may be able to manage is to just stay out of the way.
  3. Designated Seating Only - Do not allow passengers to ride on the back of benches, seats, or on top of engine covers (sundecks) unless your boat is rigged with railing 6 inches high. Passengers must be seated, or standing properly while underway, even if just idling. If the boat is in gear, park your rear. This rule is somewhat lax in the deepest part of party cove where boats loop around for a boating version of cruising the strip on a Friday night (the "gauntlet" as we used to call it) but don't count on it.
  4. No Wake Zones - Watch your wake, it's guaranteed Water Patrol will be. It is a long cove and it can be tempting to kick a small wake. Take your time, the party is not going anywhere.
  5. Bumpers - Take plenty of bumpers for your boat as others typically don't bring enough for theirs.
  6. Rope - Have plenty of line (rope). You can never have too many lines for securing things and I'm always amazed at how many people show up (cough -rentals!) without a single one.
  7. Anchor - Bring at least one anchor. Anderson Cove is wide and open, any significant wind (+5mph) can whip a group of boats around easily. The big boats have big anchors, but they can't hold an entire line in a strong wind as the bottom of the cove is very silty and difficult for anchors to take hold.
  8. Courtesy And Patience - Be helpful and patient with other boaters, the party cove has visitors ranging in experience from beginner to expert, with all sorts in between. A little courtesy can go a long way to keeping minor problems from becoming large headaches.
  9. Location Awareness - Don't stray too far from your boat and have an exit strategy. With so many boats tied together, one boaters problem can soon become everyone's problem. A sudden storm or an anchor that suddenly breaks loose can strain lines, and many times you may find it is simply safer to untie from the group rather than fight to keep it together.
  10. Respect - Be respectful of other people's property. Take care of the boats next to you, and they'll do the same. It's a boating thing.
  11. Pontoon Boats - Stay away from aluminum pontoon boats, and don't tie up to one unless you're in one. Trust me on this one. There aren't enough bumpers in the world to protect fiberglass from the sharp edge of a piece of aluminum.
  12. Drugs - Do NOT operate any watercraft under the influence of drugs (legal or otherwise).
  13. Alcohol - Do NOT operate any watercraft under the influence of alcohol.
    1. A captain's job is a lonely job if it's done right. As captain you may be tempted to join in the thrall, but remember the same .08 alcohol level limit for operating a car, applies to all watercraft in Missouri and the consequences of getting caught just as severe. This is the single biggest problem at the lake for vacationers unfamiliar with the law, and violators receive absolutely no leniency when caught. If you want to play with everyone else then charter a boat, there are plenty of services available and has the added benefit of not having to deal with all of the above. Flirt with drinking and boating it if you want, many do, but remember you are being watched.